July 12, 2005

Sex offender charged in Idaho triple murder

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (Reuters) - Prosecutors charged a
convicted sex offender with three counts of murder on Tuesday
for killing a mother, her 13-year-old son and her boyfriend
before abducting her two children.

Joseph Duncan, 42, who has been convicted in the past of
molesting children, was found at a Denny's in Idaho on July 2
with 8-year-old Shasta Groene.

The remains of her brother, Dylan Groene, 9, were
discovered in a Montana campground two days later.

Prosecutors said they also expect to charge Duncan, who has
already been charged with two counts of kidnapping, in the
murder of Dylan as well.

A deputy sheriff said in Kootenai County Court that Duncan
had described the murders to Shasta in great detail, how he had
tied up her family and bludgeoned them with a hammer, according
to an audio recording of the proceedings.

Duncan told Shasta how he had stalked her family, using
night-vision goggles and had watched for two or three days to
understand their habits before bursting in on them in their
home near Coeur D'Alene, armed with a shotgun, the deputy

A widespread hunt for Shasta and her brother began after
authorities found the bodies of their mother, Brenda Groene,
40, brother Slade Groene, 13, and Mark McKenzie, 37, on May 16.

Duncan was released on $15,000 bail earlier this year after
being charged with molesting a 6-year-old boy at a Minnesota
school playground. Police had been looking for him since he
failed to check in with a probation agent in May.

Duncan, whose last known address was in North Dakota, ran a
Web site urging that child molesters not be prosecuted. He was
convicted of raping a 14-year-old boy in Washington state in